Recently, I attended an Apprenticeship Meeting at Wake Tech Community College to hear more about “Debt Free Education”. As I listened to the speakers discuss the industry workforce shortages in manufacturing, electrical, HVAC, welding, plumbing, construction, etc. I began pondering how we could use apprenticeships to address workforce gaps in the A/E industry. Specifically, I wondered if an apprenticeship program was right for my company, Summit Design and Engineering Services.
It is no secret that fewer individuals are entering into trade positions even though trade work is not slowing down. At some point, we will have a major shortfall of qualified individuals. Perhaps apprenticeships are the answer.
An apprenticeship is an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce through on-the-job learning while individuals obtain paid work experience and classroom instruction.
The apprenticeship model dates back to 18th century BCE. In Egypt, apprenticeships allowed communities to maintain their numbers of craftsman. In Babylon, artisans were required to teach the next generation their crafts. By the 13th century, western Europe had adopted the apprenticeships model through the form of craft guilds.
By hiring a pre-apprentice or an apprentice, you are investing in that individual’s career and future, not to mention adding skilled employees to the workforce. This is more
than just a win-win partnership, it is also the most useful recruitment and retention tools in your company’s toolbox! Based on data from the Department of Labor, 91% of apprentices that complete
an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.
By investing in this employee, you can reduce your turnover rates and keep the company’s recruitment costs down.
Depending on the services offered by your company, there are several options to think about when developing an apprenticeship program. Some positions to consider would be:
For example, Summit’s first registered apprenticeship grew from a desire to have a current employee, who had been with us a year as a Lab Technician, become a Field Technician. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to create and experiment with an apprenticeship program, so we worked with ApprenticeshipNC to create an apprenticeship opportunity for this employee. Through the program, this employee will obtain his Civil Engineering Technology Degree from Wake Tech Community College, while he is working full-time, earning a salary including a full employee benefit package, obtaining state/national certifications, and gaining real-world experience. There is also an opportunity for him to be promoted once he finishes the program. Through a state grant program, this employee is also having his tuition, fees, and book costs taken care of. In an age of gripping student debt, this is yet another benefit to an apprenticeship program.
To get started, follow the steps below:
To access the interactive contact map above for your state visit the following website: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/ apprenticeship/contact
The apprenticeship program bolsters a workforce with less risk and more reward. This program provides on-the-job training specific to your company and industry, so the apprentice is fully trained
upon completion of the program. They will be a more productive and higher performing employee, and that leads to happy clients and repeat business for you. Hopefully after reading this, you will
begin to think of ways that an apprentice could benefit your company. Remember, “investing in your workforce today can prepare your business for success in the future.”
The following sources were utilized in the creation of this blog and can be used as additional resources if you are ready to establish an apprenticeship program.
Nikki Orie works as our recruiter and she lives for finding new talent and making new connections. If you meet Nikki in a crowded room you’ll know three things: first, she’s a civil engineer by trade, two: she has the best comebacks and three: she is the best person to have in your corner.